Child discovers mastodon tooth at Michigan nature preserve

UPI – A six-year-old kid walking with his family in a Michigan nature preserve made a rare find: a 12,000-year-old mastodon tooth.

Six-year-old Julian Gagnon was walking with his family in Dinosaur Hill Nature Reserve on September 6 when he found an object he initially identified to his parents as a ‘dragon’s tooth’.

“I just felt something on my foot and grabbed it, and it felt like a tooth,” Gagnon said. WDIV-TV. Gagnon’s parents allowed him to take his find home, where the family took a closer look and realized it might just be a fossil.

The family contacted the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontologists, which identified the find as the upper right molar of a juvenile mastodon, a species that lived in Michigan about 12,000 years ago. “Mammoth and mastodon fossils are relatively rare in Michigan, but compared to other places in the United States (US), there have actually been more occurrences,” said Adam Rountrey, director of the collection of the research museum of the museum of paleontology.

Experts said that although mammoths and mastodons once lived in Michigan, finds are rare because the animals’ carcasses were typically taken by scavengers long before they became fossils. The Gagnon family donated the tooth to the museum, which said Julian would be rewarded for his donation with a behind-the-scenes tour later this month.

“It only fueled his passion for archeology and paleontology,” said his mother Mary Gagnon.

“As far as he’s concerned, this is his first discovery of his career, and now it’s hard to dissuade him from picking up anything he sees in the natural world.”

The mastodon tooth discovered by Julian Gagnon. PHOTO: MARIE GAGNON

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